5 takeaways from Week 2 of high school football action

Saturday, September 7, 2019 | 8:27 PM

Less than a week after being shot in the leg and feet, West Mifflin quarterback Jaylen Dukes walked back onto a football field with crutches Friday night.

The senior served as an honorary captain, coach Rod Steele said, as West Mifflin defeated Trinity, 40-0.

“The kids wanted to rally and play for their teammate,” Steele said. “From a psychological standpoint, that was pretty good. They stepped up and did a good job.”

Senior running back Jacob Davis replaced Dukes at quarterback and passed for 297 yards and three touchdowns in his first game behind center. Davis also rushed for 117 yards and a score.

“He’s an athlete, and we always knew he could throw,” Steele said. “For the first time being back there, he managed the game like a veteran. He didn’t try to do too much or do too little. He did a great job.”

Steele wasn’t sure whether Dukes could return to the field this season.

“It’s hard to say,” Steele said. “He’s got to recover from some serious injuries. We’ll see what happens. When the medical report comes back, if he’s healthy and he’s ready to go, we’ll try to work him back into the fold. But until then, our thoughts and prayers are with him to have a safe and speedy recovery.”

Acting West Mifflin superintendent Mark Hoover earlier this week identified Dukes as the teenager injured in a shooting Aug. 31 in the 3800 block of Inland Avenue in West Mifflin.

Authorities said he was shot while sitting in a parked car along the road. County detectives and the county medical examiner’s mobile crime unit found 28 shell casings at the Inland Avenue scene.

A motive for the shooting is unknown.

2. Breaking from a trend

In an era of lopsided scores, the average margin of victory across the WPIAL was almost four touchdowns.

It was 25.7 points, to be exact.

That made nail-biting Week 2 wins by Brownsville, East Allegheny, Freedom, Hampton, North Allegheny and South Side all the more unusual. All six teams were locked in 48-minute battles before ultimately winning by three or fewer points.

Four games were decided by a single point.

North Allegheny won 11-10 over Central Catholic when the Tigers converted a 2-point run by backup quarterback Peter Vardzel with 3 minutes left.

Two other teams also gambled Friday but found less success. Beth-Center scored 20 points in the fourth quarter, but its 2-point pass failed and Brownsville escaped with a 27-26 victory. Similarly, Riverside scored 16 points in the fourth, but Freedom won 31-30 when the Panthers’ 2-point run didn’t reach the end zone.

The fourth one-point win Friday was a 7-6 victory by East Allegheny over South Allegheny.

Hampton and South Side each celebrated three-point wins. South Side defeated Serra Catholic, 30-27, and Hampton beat Shaler, 31-28.

In contrast, there were 14 shutouts Friday including a 56-0 victory by Charleroi, a 55-0 win by Aliquippa and a 49-0 win by Keystone Oaks.

3. Greene with envy

Another week brought another big score for West Greene.

Chartiers-Houston had yet to allow a point this season, but West Greene scored eight touchdowns in a 51-12 victory in the Class A Tri-County South. Senior running back Ben Jackson scored five times, pushing his touchdown total to 16 in three games.

The 51 points was a season low for the Pioneers, who are averaging 64.7. They scored 61 and 82 points in their first two games.

When Jeannette and Terrelle Pryor set the single-season PIAA scoring record in 2007 at 860 points, the Jayhawks averaged 53.8. Steel Valley averaged 53.7 during its dominant season in 2016. However, both of those teams won the state championship, giving each 15 or 16 games.

At a minimum, West Greene (3-0, 2-0) has five conference games remaining along with nonconference matchups at Clairton and Union.

4. Like father, like son

North Allegheny coach Art Walker won his 200th career game Friday, a milestone win his father Art Sr. reached a couple of decades earlier. They’re believed to be the first father-son coaching duo in the WPIAL to accomplish the feat.

Art Walker Sr. went 207-73-6 combined at Mt. Lebanon (1967-87) and Shady Side Academy (1994-98). His son, who started his career in 1998 at Central Catholic, is in his 15th season at North Allegheny.

5. Starting slow

Rochester and Steel Valley were WPIAL finalists a season ago, but the storied programs enter Week 3 searching for their first win.

Last year’s Class A runner-up Rochester fell to 0-3 after losing at Leechburg, 13-7. Steel Valley is the defending WPIAL Class 2A champion but dropped to 0-2 after losing to Avonworth, 38-0.

Chris Harlan is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Chris by email at charlan@tribweb.com or via Twitter .

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